Carter Lake to the Beach

May 30, 1982

The hike to Carpenter Mountain, originally scheduled for this date, had to be changed because of impassable roads. The trailhead for Carpenter is too high for that early in the year after a snowy winter. Fourteen people had signed up for the substitute hike to the coast, from Carter Lake Campground, comparable in length (3 miles RT) to the short hike to Carpenter. By the time we actually left Eugene we were only nine people—two no shows and 3 cancellations. Carter Lake Campground is still closed, the approach road barred. We parked in a sandy area outside, off US 101, and hiked along the camp drive to the trailhead, past numerous signs of a damaging winter season. We located lone poles in the dunes as landmarks, for our return. The trail, what there is of it, disappeared below water several times so that we just bushwhacked it across. Arrived at the beach at high noon, found a sheltered spot in the dunes and had lunch. Then a hike south along the beach, through the drifting mist, veiling an otherwise steely blue sky, hiking away from the whining engines of the dune buggies to the north ripping up the land.

We left the beach at 14:00 getting to Carter Lake Campground and the trail head a little after three. How bad the winter damage actually was we realized when we tried to walk the camp drive to the lake. In a short distance it was completely drowned in a new small lake. We were forced to thread our way around picnic tables crushed by trees which blocked our path numerous times. This devastation is a blessing in disguise for hikers: no motors, no campers, a newly created wilderness with a beautiful lake, hidden picnic tables and comfort stations partly buried under fallen trees. Clarence went in, swim suit or no, followed by Rachel and me, finally by Gerta and Karen.

Clam Chowder and garlic bread at Mo’s in Florence added the final easy touch to this fairly easy outing enjoyed by Karen Houglum, Rachel Major, Teresa Nutt, Gerta Ross, Alys Riley, Clarence and Dorothy Scherer, Bob Walden and leader Hank Plant.


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